Japanese Parliament Approves Law on Integrated Casinos
Japan took a major step forward towards creating legal casinos as Thursday saw the Japanese parliament approve a law on “integrated resorts” which will pave the way for the much talked about casino market in Japan.
Japan is potentially seen as one of the largest casino markets in the world and could become the next Macau. As we reported in previous articles Japan is on the radar of many of the largest gambling companies in the world including the Sands Group and Wynn Resorts who are looking to setup shop there.
The supporters of allowing casinos in Japan believe that it will boost tourism and entice wealthier travelers to the country. Opponents to the plans to legalize gambling cite the usual objections that include claims it will increase organized crime and result in gambling addiction. Japan as a whole are a conservative nation and it is widely accepted that the majority of people oppose any plan to introduce casinos in the country.
The timing for the opening of the first casino in Japan is set to be delayed till around 2021 although there have been talks that it would coincide with the 2020 Olympic Games.
The new legislation passed will give the green light to authorize the drafting of regulations that include the number of casinos, tax rates and restrictions on entry for Japanese nationals. This law is expected to gain approval only in around a year. The cities bidding for casino licenses are Osaka, Yokohama and Tokyo. The stakes are high as the estimates are that the Japanese market could be worth $30 billion a year in gross revenue.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is the staunchest supporter of the legislation and he believes that gambling would make up a very small proportion of the total business from the integrated resorts which would combine hotels, convention space, theme parks and shopping malls. The idea is to attract investment and create jobs. If all goes well Japan could become the largest gambling market behind Macau.